For the latest installment of Billboard’s series “How It Went Down,” Halsey breaks down how “Bad at Love” came to be, explaining that she was in the midst of a break-up, coping as many do with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream when she thought of the song’s concept.
Recorded in Los Angeles with her producer Ricky Reed, the “Now or Never” singer repeatedly told Reed that she really wanted the tune to “sound like Leonardo DiCaprio in a Hawaiian T-shirt in a droptop yellow convertible car — driving down the highway like in Miami Vice with all his friends.”
Her sophomore concept album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, greatly inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, is a cohesive break-up record — a combination of synth-pop, R&B, and alternative anthems — so it’s only appropriate to say that “Bad at Love” is an extension of this dooming love story Halsey details from her perspective. Identifying with DiCaprio’s role from the 1996 romantic drama, Halsey reflects on a number of failed relationships throughout the song.
From a boy back home in Michigan to a secretive affair with a London lady, Halsey admits that her relationships have one thing in common: She’s awful at a little thing called love.
“And going through one by one in my head thinking about each individual relationship and what I did to fuck it up,” the 22-year-old lightheartedly contemplates.
While “Bad at Love” points out that Halsey always makes the “same mistakes” in relationships, when the “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” artist heard the final version in the studio she said it “felt perfect” and it will always remind her of DiCaprio in a Hawaiian shirt.
Watch the episode above for the full explanation of “Bad at Love.”